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Do We Really Have a Shortage of STEM Workers?

Unknown Lamer posted about 9 months ago | from the only-if-you're-cheap dept.

Education 491

New pweidema writes "Michael Teitelbaum, a senior research associate in the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School who has been writing a book on the subject of the current state of employment in science and technology fields, recently spoke at an Education Writers Association Conference about the 'STEM Worker Shortage: Does It Exist and Is Education to Blame?' The National Science Board's biennial book, Science and Engineering Indicators , consistently finds that the U.S. produces many more STEM graduates than the workforce can absorb. Meanwhile, employers say managers are struggling to find qualified workers in STEM fields. What explains these apparently contradictory trends? And as the shortage debate rages, what do we know about the pipeline of STEM-talented students from kindergarten to college, and what happens to them in the job market? An article LA Times summarizes his findings of his findings on the STEM hype: '...some of it comes from the country’s longtime cycle of waxing and waning interest in science; attention seems to focus on science every 10 to 15 years before slacking off. The only forces pushing the idea of STEM doom, he said, are those that have something to gain from it. Mostly those are STEM employers ... that want to pack the labor force with people to suppress wages ... Joining the chorus are universities that want more funding for science programs...'"

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I thought this had been settled long ago. (5, Insightful)

hubang (692671) | about 9 months ago | (#46344959)

No. We do not have a shortage. The US has been shedding STEM jobs, not gaining unfilled ones. For almost 3 decades at this point.

There is a vested interest in driving down wages for those few jobs that remain however.

Re: I thought this had been settled long ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46344977)

This

Re:I thought this had been settled long ago. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345027)

Mod parent up!

This is exactly what is going on. There isn't a shortage of STEM workers at all. There is a shortage of STEM workers willing to work for minimum wage. What companies want is H1-B factories. Cheap foreign labor. I don't know who will buy their products when nobody has a high enough paying job to afford them though.

Re:I thought this had been settled long ago. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345125)

What companies want is H1-B factories. Cheap foreign labor.

Yes, that is what they want, but what they don't realize is that they actually get if they got what they ask for.
If I import cheap labor that is exactly what I get, cheap labor.
Expensive labor exists overseas too. It is expensive because they know what they are doing and are worth the extra cost. What you get when you import cheap labor is the ones who aren't competitive in their native market.

Re:I thought this had been settled long ago. (2)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 9 months ago | (#46345351)

With 100+ immigrant class of Visas H1-B is a drop in the bucket.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:I thought this had been settled long ago. (5, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 9 months ago | (#46345441)

This is exactly what is going on.

Except that it is not. There are currently about two million practicing engineers in the USA, and that number is growing by about 70,000 per year. So we are not "shedding" STEM jobs. The unemployment rate for computer professionals and engineers is about 3% [bls.gov] compared to an overall rate of over 7%.

I apologize for interrupting this whine-fest with actual facts.

Not just in the US (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345155)

It's interesting that in the Netherlands, tech companies have been telling the government that there is a shortage of about 30.000 IT workers. However, if you're actually looking for a job and trawl the internet for vacancies, you'll quickly conclude that there are about 500 vacancies tops.
There are plenty of qualified, motivated and intelligent IT professionals. If companies have such a big shortage of IT workers, they should just publish the vacancies, hire the best who apply and shut the fuck up.

Re:Not just in the US (1)

WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) | about 9 months ago | (#46345257)

It's interesting that in the Netherlands, tech companies have been telling the government that there is a shortage of about 30.000 IT workers. However, if you're actually looking for a job and trawl the internet for vacancies, you'll quickly conclude that there are about 500 vacancies tops.

That's because cheap foreign laborers are lazy and only possess 1/60 the productivity of a Dutch person.[/sarcasm]

Re:Not just in the US (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 9 months ago | (#46345417)

wow, that's 30 workers but with ultra high precision.

sounds more like switzerland. are you sure you're not swiss?

Re:I thought this had been settled long ago. (1)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 9 months ago | (#46345339)

Until they can get the average pay as low as the plutocrats want it lying will be
ONE of the tools they use to get the pay lowered for all jobs.

Allowing millions of illegal immigrants in is another way, and the 100+ different types
of immigrant Visa is another, the H1-B gets a lot of coverage, but the L1 has NO LIMIT...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:I thought this had been settled long ago. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#46345427)

Ah, but the problem is that the primary H1B supplying nations are actually having their own tech economies pick up, driving up imported wages(and you have to pay for cost-of-living in the US, even if retirement money/other savings goes out of the country)

Re:I thought this had been settled long ago. (1)

naris (830549) | about 9 months ago | (#46345359)

When there are complaints of a "Shortage" of STEM workers, what is meant is not enough newly graduating students with STEM degrees willing to work long hours for little money. There is no consideration of workers already in STEM fields or unemployed workers with STEM experience, especially if they are over 30!

What these employers really want is more H1B indentured servants and/or an excuse to "offshore" everything.

Re:I thought this had been settled long ago. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345573)

[posting AC because I'm talking about my current employer]

Or, what they want are experienced people willing to work for entry-level salaries. I've been trying to fill a position for six months now, but no qualified person will work for what I'm permitted to offer them. So we've just been doing without, and the longer that goes on, the more likely the PHBs are to withdraw the position altogether.

This is a natural outgrowth of the old HR saying about attracting "the best and the brightest" but only paying "market" salaries, i.e., 80th percentile talent for 50th percentile pay.

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46344967)

Who cares? Sure, if you look at who has economic motives, that will be what shows up. It's like those that complain that people that "believe" in global warming invested in "green" energy. Those that wouldn't would be economically stupid!

So yea, there may or may not be a shortage, and I don't really care. Do I work in a "STEM" field? Yes. Do I want to be paid more? Yes. Do I think I earned it? Yes. Do I care what other people do? No. Does that mean that perhaps I won't fight a faux-war against some other group of people that maybe have different economic incentives? Yes.

tl;dr: I work in academics, feel free to pay me more, but otherwise I don't give a fuck.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345097)

tl;dr

Quick grammar nazi. Your message wasn't too long to read. In this case it would have been better to just say "in summary". Besides, TLDR should be in the beginning of the message anyway. If it's at the bottom, it's likely that we have read the whole message already.

No (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46344971)

We have a shortage of employers willing to pay market rates.

Re:No (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 9 months ago | (#46345035)

And no shortage of H1B visas and outsourcing that keep wages artificially low.

Re:No (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 9 months ago | (#46345225)

And no shortage of H1B visas and outsourcing that keep wages artificially low.

Why is that "artificial"? If anything, the "natural" level of wages would be in a free market with no constraints on the movement of labor, which would be even lower.

Re:No (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#46345371)

Why is that "artificial"? If anything, the "natural" level of wages would be in a free market with no constraints on the movement of labor, which would be even lower.

Not necessarily. Imagine if some government had capped the number of jobs in Silicon Valley in the early 70's, in order to ensure that the existing jobs maintained a high wage.

Education does not qualified make... (5, Interesting)

epiphani (254981) | about 9 months ago | (#46344981)

There's no conspiracy to push down wages - these are real complaints. The same problem exists in many fields - there's a difference between good people and qualified people. As a hiring manager, when I complain about finding qualified people, I mean people that can show, in an interview, that they're open to and reasonably good at learning. I've hired highschool dropouts (and am one myself) and PhD grads.

We need people that are in STEM because they WANT to be in STEM. Trying to get more people educated in a field by saying "we need more people with STEM degrees!" is like saying I need more people who know how to run. I don't want someone who knows how to run, I want someone who loves running.

Re:Education does not qualified make... (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | about 9 months ago | (#46345009)

I WANT to be in STEM, but that doesn't seem to do me any good.

Re:Education does not qualified make... (4, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 9 months ago | (#46345121)

Raising how much you pay is a great way to get people who want to work for you.

Re:Education does not qualified make... (4, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 9 months ago | (#46345465)

and not treating them like 'resources' to be laid off the very moment the financials look less rosy, THAT will also keep engineers working for you and loyal.

I just recently went thru a major layoff and it was cold and cruel. they fired most of the american workers (silicon valley area) and every single asian and indian worker was left untouched. also, all the ones let go were of 'older age'.

stop treating us like disposables and maybe you'll find it easier to retain people. instead, its a revolving door where you bring people in, refuse to train them and then walk them out the moment things get hard, business-wise.

oh, and right after we fired 1/3 of our staff, they hired another person. yes, indian. I rest my case.

Re:Education does not qualified make... (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 9 months ago | (#46345127)

I see two problems with your statement. The first is that you seem to be defining "qualified" in a way that is not quantifiable, which means that no one else can ever discover whether or not a particular person meets your definition of "qualified". As a result of that, we have to take your assertion that you cannot find someone who is qualified and need to bring in an immigrant to do the job (who just happens to be willing to work for less than a U.S. citizen with similar quantifiable qualifications). The second problem I have with your statement is that perhaps the reason you are having problems finding qualified people to fill your job openings is because you are not willing to pay them enough for them to be interested in coming to work for your company. Another possibility is that you need to hire people and train them yourself so that they have the qualifications you need.

Re:Education does not qualified make... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345159)

The main problem we have is that HR keeps adding stupid bullshit to out want-ads. We submit something with "Must be familiar with principles of scientific computer and numerical analysis in Matlab. May include some C/C++, java, fortran, and/or ada." And they translate it to 5 years experience in each of those fields. No. We don;t need you to be able to write programs in those language on day 1, but might need you to tweak a function or filter or maybe move stuff from fortran (legacy) to matlab. It's not weird fortran. It's loops and math. The kind of shit anyone who is familiar with any procedural language can figure out. But HR has their own bullshit going on (mostly justification for their existence) and so, actively perverts our job postings. Hell, we wanted to hire a writer/editor to help fix our reports and they bumped the requirement to include a BS in EE simply because our division is binned as an engineering one. WTF? I've talked to people from other businesses around here and it seems to be universal.

THE POINT IS:
We do not have a shortage of good people in the country. What we have is an excess of stupidity in the system to link people who want $X with people who can provide $X.

Re:Education does not qualified make... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345195)

I agree completely with this. We've been trying to hire qualified people for years and the pool is simply very shallow.

Re:Education does not qualified make... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345203)

I wonder if the accounting manager wants to find people who love accounting. They look for people who have arguments about which is better, debits or credits.

Sounds like you are shooting yourself in the foot. Maybe you should look for people who can actually get the job done, you'll probably find more of those. Most business environments are fucking boring as shit for talented people. It's a grind.

>I mean people that can show, in an interview, that they're open to and reasonably good at learning.

Think about what you are saying. You said you dropped out of high school and never went to college (I assume), that a huge red flag that says you have absolutely no interest in learning.

>We need people that are in STEM because they WANT to be in STEM.

No you don't, you need people who can get the job done. Once you realize that, they won't be so hard to find.

Re:Education does not qualified make... (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 9 months ago | (#46345293)

that a huge red flag that says you have absolutely no interest in learning.

Wrong. It means they have absolutely no interest in pedagogy. And probably little interest in the 'material' that a clueless fuck whose degree is in Education has to 'present' to them. Learning is a lifelong pursuit, whereas the people who are most successful in formal 'education' environments are the skilled rats who learn what lever to press. After they graduate, they want to watch football for the rest of their lives.

Re:Education does not qualified make... (5, Insightful)

Amtiskaw (591171) | about 9 months ago | (#46345311)

Nonsense. You can easily hire top people, you just have to be willing to pay them enough. Whatever you're offering, keep doubling it and see if you're still not getting great candidates walking in the door. This is what Netflix do: They routinely offer salaries at significantly above market rate, and they have far less trouble hiring software engineers than the other Silicon Valley firms who complain about a lack of talent.

Now, you may say, "but we can't afford to offer salaries that high!" and maybe that's true, but it means that the candidates you want are out of your price range, not that they're not out there. For companies that can't pay, the solution is obvious: Encourage as many people as possible to enter STEM fields, thus increasing the pool of candidates, which in turn increases the smaller pool of elite candidates. Greater supply and equal demand causes a drop in price, and companies an now hire better talent for mediocre wages.

This equation is the only reason by tech companies have been attaching themselves to these ludicrous campaigns to teach everybody to code. Not because they really believe their some social benefit to every school kid being able to make their own smartphone app, but because they want to increase their profits by lowering their wage bill. This is hardly wild speculation, given we know for a fact that tech CEOs spent most of the 2000s illegally conspiring to lower wages via mutal non-recruitment agreements: http://pando.com/2014/01/23/th... [pando.com]

Re:Education does not qualified make... (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 9 months ago | (#46345393)

I don't want someone who knows how to run, I want someone who loves running.

For most, it's a fucking job so that people can make a living and support our families. That goes the same for those of us who love the work, and applies to all fields, not just STEM.

Let's see you hit 40s and keep on the same tune. Stupid kids.

True enough... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345431)

I'm on the other side of the coin. I've found most of my college education to be less informative than what I do on my own time. I'm exceptionally fast at learning, always give as much of myself as I can, and naturally fall into a leadership role. I'm looking outside my company right now because there's been less than a 1% raise over 2 years, I'm paid below market, we're constantly short-staffed, there's no training provided for new software, and there's no room to grow. My company is a Fortune 100 company and the level of pay difference between management and the ones who do useful work is dramatic. An actual example is that two directors were talking and one was complaining to the other that he couldn't decide between a Maserati and a Porsche...meanwhile most of the people are underpaid. I want to do more, I crave to be in a company that will use me to my full potential, instead I'm stuck doing mind numbing and boring work, with no chance of escape. Some of this is my fault for not getting certifications to prove what I know, but it's really hard to save up extra money when you're living so close to the edge financially, and completely demoralizing when you're responsible for keeping millions in revenue flowing.

Re:Education does not qualified make... (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 9 months ago | (#46345461)

There's no conspiracy to push down wages - these are real complaints. The same problem exists in many fields - there's a difference between good people and qualified people. As a hiring manager, when I complain about finding qualified people, I mean people that can show, in an interview, that they're open to and reasonably good at learning.

(Emphasis mine.)

Firstly -- and I'm not trying to be sarcastic or snarky here -- do you want qualified people that are "open to and reasonably good at learning," or people "that can show, in an interview, that they're open to and reasonably good at learning"? Because these aren't necessarily the same thing. You're looking for someone who interviews well, probably because you don't have that many other good methods of readily determining his qualifications. But that can be a problem, because a good interviewee isn't necessarily a good on the job learner. A worst-case scenario is hiring a guy that sounds good but is just a great salesman while overlooking a guy who would do a great job but doesn't present himself as well as the other guy.

Now one can certainly respond that candidates for jobs should be able to present themselves well. Being able to "sell" oneself obviously works. But that's solving a different problem. It's solving the "I didn't get hired" problem from the candidate's POV, not the "I can't find a good candidate" problem that HR has.

Also, you say you're not trying to push down wages. But of course you are. Not maliciously. You just don't want to spend more than you have to, do you? I don't go to the grocery store looking to needlessly spend more than I have to on fruit. But on the other hand, you're not usually gonna get top quality produce at bargain prices. You pay your money and make your choice.

Re:Education does not qualified make... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345509)

Half the people i work with are just completely incompetent. I'd welcome some inteligent H1Bs.

Applicant to job ratios suggest otherwise (4, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about 9 months ago | (#46345639)

I'm a postdoc, which puts me about as far down the narrow end of the qualifications wedge as you can get. I'm still competing with about 10 other postdocs (and never you mind all the underqualified noise) for every position I go for, corporate or academic. That is not a ratio that speaks of a shortage of employable candidates.

Believe me, anyone who reaches this stage really, really wants to be in STEM. The jobs just aren't there, unless you want to go into quantitative analysis at a bank. They just never stop hiring.

Define "qualified" (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | about 9 months ago | (#46344991)

Yeah, there are some unqualified people out there, but I find it hard to believe that the vast majority of job seekers in STEM can't be "re-trained" in similar sub fields of STEM. For example, why can't someone who has solid SQL knowledge be trained as a DBA or a Java programmer?

Re:Define "qualified" (5, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 9 months ago | (#46345037)

Because nobody wants to do on the job training any more. And chances are if a company is hiring a DBA, it's because they are short a DBA. If there is anyone else on the database team, they're going to be struggling to do the work of two people and won't have time to train anyone else.

Companies want someone who has already been trained to do the job they are hiring for. They want someone who can hit the ground running.

Re:Define "qualified" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345077)

Mod parent "Exactly Correct"

Re:Define "qualified" (2)

YahoKa (577942) | about 9 months ago | (#46345083)

There is some truth to that, but that's not the whole story. There are many good people out there, but you will see people from CS or Computer Eng backgrounds that understand surprisingly little about any part of a computer or software (even from good schools ... sometimes I can't fathom how they passed). And at least 80% of the time someone writes that they know SQL or Unix on their resume, they can't name even a few basic commands.

Re:Define "qualified" (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | about 9 months ago | (#46345303)

But I feel that is true in any field.

I would also contend that you're looking in all the wrong places. Posting on Monster or Dice will get you all kinds of people.

Re:Define "qualified" (4, Insightful)

DudeTheMath (522264) | about 9 months ago | (#46345091)

This (no mod points today). I'm a dynamite C programmer, some small experience in JS & C#, and I know how to design an rdb schema and write a stored procedure, but I don't have "4 years experience with jdb and Netbeans". Whatevs: give me three weeks with actual stuff to do, and you probably couldn't tell the difference, but it's darned hard to get hired.

Re:Define "qualified" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345137)

This (no mod points today). I'm a dynamite C programmer, some small experience in JS & C#, and I know how to design an rdb schema and write a stored procedure, but I don't have "4 years experience with jdb and Netbeans". Whatevs: give me three weeks with actual stuff to do, and you probably couldn't tell the difference, but it's darned hard to get hired.

I'm an embedded C and hardware guy in a place with almost no embedded engineering. The only jobs around here seem to be ASP.Net and some Java. Saying "move" is not a useful answer when you have a house, nearby family, and friends. I can hack my way through Java and Android but that doesn't seem to matter to HR people.

Thankfully I have been finding lots of work-from-home contract jobs with west coast companies (where all the jobs are) and can avoid the west coast of the US (where I consider it the worst place to live or even visit).

Re:Define "qualified" (2)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | about 9 months ago | (#46345287)

Because nobody wants to do on the job training any more.

and

Companies want someone who has already been trained to do the job they are hiring for. They want someone who can hit the ground running.

But then, companies can't complain that there are "no qualified candidates." Saying that you don't offer any training, are a victim of poor planning and that there are no unqualified candidates are two contradictory statements.

Training needs to be improved (1)

swb (14022) | about 9 months ago | (#46345497)

I think there's a problem with the "training" that's available for people with existing experience in IT fields that makes it difficult to gain knowledge and expertise allowing you to move to a different specialty.

One one end of the spectrum you have "college" which people usually go to once. Heavy on theory, light on practice, expensive, time-consuming and not realistic for most people with broad, in-field experience. Close to this are technical schools of various kinds, which mostly seem to focus on ground-up education as some kind of a college substitute, and not really as applicable to people looking to gain expertise in an IT subfield.

Then there's the various corporate "training" usually run by vendors or teaching vendor-produced curriculum. Because their audience is usually employed, this kind of training is brief and shallow, almost a tour of user interfaces with little in-depth application taught.

Between these two seems to be a gap that might teach more in-depth skills and knowledge that would help educate people already in the IT field who want to gain expertise not just in a single vendor product but in its real-world application while still providing some of the theoretical background so you don't just crank out MCSE-style "experts".

I have nearly two decades of experience in infrastructure -- operating systems, virtualization (well, maybe only a decade here), servers, networking, yet if I wanted to become a DBA, developer, my only real option is to pound it out on my own and hope I'd figured out enough to not fail day 1 on the job.

Re:Training needs to be improved (3, Insightful)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | about 9 months ago | (#46345609)

Of course training needs to be improved, or at least there is some room for improvement.

My issue is that corps talk a big game - there there is a shortage of qualified candidates. What there is a shortage of is good training, planning, career paths and adequate salary. If there was really a shortage, we'd see changes in these areas.

Programming as a vocation! (5, Interesting)

Anarchy24 (964386) | about 9 months ago | (#46344993)

Colleges teach high-level theories and models and UMLs and chess board Java CS projects - useless to 99.9% of tech employers. So many compsci students I see come into class half-asleep, barely pay attention in class, and don't seem to think much about it once they leave the classroom. They think they're going to make a ton of money as .NET developers by using drag-and-drop software like Visual Studio. I am looking to hire 3 student programmers right now, and even amongst our best candidates, they can't write a simple 4-line script to output a file to screen. They are very, very smart students, but they don't have any skills! Employers need workers with practical experience, and in general WANT workers who have lots of experience with specific software. Colleges don't teach software suites, they teach theories. Programming and information technology should be taught as vocations... high-paying, of course.

Programming is not a vocation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345115)

Not in the true sense of the word. I'm not called by a greater power to program nor am I inspired to show up at the office for 40+ hours because I love programming so much. I am coming to be paid.

My guess is that you're using vocation in the sense of the old vo-tech schools that taught people how to be welders and carpenters. At the same time you complain that you hired three student who cant write a four line script. Well, guess what? The old vo-tech school model depended on mentoring. When you hired a student, you knew you were supposed to mentor them. That's also why unions existed (apprenticeships, master, journeyman, etc), but my guess is that you're not up for a programmer's union.

If you really need workers with practical experience, hire them. They're out there. Don't expect them to work at the same wage as your students, though. You need to pay for experience. It's not rocket science.

Re:Programming as a vocation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345271)

You should think about investing in your hires. We hired a guy 1 year out of college, taught him a few things and in 6 months he is kicking ass.

Re:Programming as a vocation! (2)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 9 months ago | (#46345539)

Alot of the MBAs think there best investment are in accounting and marketing folks.

Even while I worked at Cisco Systems the marketing ppl were paid more then some of
out better engineers, which made no sense to me.

Visual Studio is not just drag and drop (1, Informative)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 9 months ago | (#46345283)

Perhaps you should try using it some time, unless you think Microsoft have written an application that can automatically generate all the business logic for every single organisation that will ever exist.

Re:Visual Studio is not just drag and drop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345595)

I get his point.

When I went through CS (late 80's, early 90's) the kids in there wanted to be in there. Our profs explicitly told us 'we are not here to teach you how to use your programming tools - we are here to teach you how to program.' Just like the English class was not where you how to use Word. They didn't care what OS, development environment, etc. you used for your work. So, I did most of my 100 & 200 level courses using TurboPascal on my C=128 under CP/M. The one and only time they 'broke' that rule was when the entire x86 assembler class became stuck on the assembler --> linker commands (the book had a typo on MASM). No Google to look things up. So, 15 minutes of class time during the first project - got it now? Let's move on. Never talked about the tools again in class. Ever. Their thought was, if you can't RTFM you shouldn't be here. That isn't to say you couldn't go into their office and ask questions - but you better not do it the day that the project was due.

I've seen too may noobs that can't think beyond the IDE they are used to.

FredInIT

Quality, not quantity (3, Insightful)

YahoKa (577942) | about 9 months ago | (#46344997)

I've you've ever hired for a stem job, you will know: there are plenty of people with the right degree out there. Finding one with a degree who understands even half of what they learned is another.

Just a ruse to get more H1B's (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 9 months ago | (#46345019)

It's just something the industry tells Congress when they beg for more indentured servant licenses.

Re:Just a ruse to get more H1B's (2)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | about 9 months ago | (#46345557)

H1-B is just the tip of the iceberg, there are 100+ immigrant Visas for flooding
the US labor market. Many are used under false pretense to get ppl here,
then they switch to a different type later, or just have a kid once they are here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

The difference in the two numbers ... (3, Informative)

johnlcallaway (165670) | about 9 months ago | (#46345051)

... is the word 'qualified'. I've never interviewed so many stupid smart people ever in my life the last 10 years. People who just got out of college and expect to pull down 6 figure salaries for work they've never done before and have no proof of how good they could be. And people that think they are much better than they really are, but couldn't code their way out of a paper bag. My prior job hired a self-described 'Java programmer' that wrote some of the most horrid code I've ever seen, it didn't even come close to working. Yet he sold himself as a Java expert to the company owner (who had no IT skills), and somehow convinced him to hire him. The only thing it appeared he knew how to do was talk a good talk and use SSIS. Shortly after I left, he managed to completely obliterate a very important production database. That they had to contract with me to recover.

I now work with some really good developers because the company is choosy about who they hire. But time and time again, they lament about a shortage out there of really good developers. They get plenty of resumes, just no one worth hiring.

And attitudes ... such a bunch of spoiled babies. It's not just skills either, it's a good work ethic. Sorry .. we do have a dress code where we work. If someone can't manage to wear clean clothes that include long pants and a collared shirt every day because it's a little too restraining, they can't work here. We pay enough, I know they can afford it If someone can't manage to understand that we have standards and security requirements and they can't just write whatever they want and shove it into production, they can't work here.

So I guess if someone wants mediocrity or less, there is plenty to choose from.

Re:The difference in the two numbers ... (1)

DudeTheMath (522264) | about 9 months ago | (#46345129)

My employer simply has a six-month training wage (with a 50% raise to "normal" after the training period). Either you get what we do in those six months, or you really never will, but he has absolutely no problem with on-the-job training.

Re:The difference in the two numbers ... (1)

kcmastrpc (2818817) | about 9 months ago | (#46345167)

That sounds dumb, I'm getting paid 100% salary that is on par with the other developers on my team and I spend most of my time traversing a massive code base that I have very little familiarity with. (I'm on my second month now).

Why? Because they hope that in the next 6 months I become intimately familiar with their application and can produce more value than the wage they pay me.

Re:The difference in the two numbers ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345531)

scab

Re:The difference in the two numbers ... (5, Insightful)

wayne_t (668999) | about 9 months ago | (#46345237)

Having been on both sides, interviewer and interviewee in the past few years there are problems on both sides. And, it also depends on what you mean by qualified.

For example, NFL teams complain that there is a lack of qualified people who can throw a football even though every college team in the country has 3 or 4 on the roster. However, there is only one Peyton, Brady, or Brees. There is a reason they get paid an insane amount of money and it's because once you've narrowed the field to the best 32 guys in the country, there is still a big difference in quality.

However, the difference between superstar programmer and basically competent programmer is probably on the range of 5 to 10K at most on average. What companies mean when they say "qualified" is frequently superstar. They want 10+ years of experience in 10 different technologies and would prefer that you be under 30 and fairly cheap. They don't want to pay the equivalent of Brady or Brees salary (relatively not literally). They want people who do it because they "love" it or have passion for it.

Where I work, for programmers and engineers (P.E. types), not only do you need to be better than minimally competent in your technical field you also need to be able to manage people and do business development. How many people do you know who are average to above in a technical area, management, and marketing? And yes, we complain we can't find "qualified" people. I keep pointing out that every company would like to have the people we want and there just isn't that many to go around. In the end, coaching or management is taking a group of guys and leading them to perform such that the team is greater than the sum of the parts. It's easier if you have all stars at every position, but that is almost never going to happen.

Would Bill Gates Fucking Lie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345069)

He says there's a shortage and dangblameit there must be a shortage.

Hard to find good developers in Denver (4, Interesting)

mikeg22 (601691) | about 9 months ago | (#46345099)

My company is looking for experienced developers in the Denver area without much luck. They may be out there but they seem to be behind a wall of recruiters or otherwise unavailable due to not wanting to jump from their current jobs. I think the unemployment rate for .net developers here is something like 2%.

Yes, we need more. A common Slashdot response is that the employers aren't paying enough to attract the talent. Well, if the talent isn't worth the money in terms of bang for buck for the company, then I guess that's that, employer doesn't get a new employee and the employee doesn't get the job. Its unfortunate for both sides at that point, the economics just don't add up.

Re:Hard to find good developers in Denver (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345149)

if you can't find the talent you're looking for at the price you want, then the problem is with you and your price - not the talent. if you're not getting enough "bang for your buck" then you have either grossly overestimated the "bang" you're going to find or you've grossly underestimated the "buck" that you're going to need to spend.

i can't go car shopping and complain that no one will sell me a car for ten bucks, then say "oh well i guess i don't get a car and you don't get to sell me a car!"

if the talent "isn't worth the money" then i guess you don't really need it.

Re:Hard to find good developers in Denver (2)

mikeg22 (601691) | about 9 months ago | (#46345221)

Well, you clearly missed the point.

If I got shopping for a car because having a car will save me $10,000 a year, and only find cars on sale for $20,000, then I'm not going to buy a car.

Re:Hard to find good developers in Denver (3, Insightful)

Njovich (553857) | about 9 months ago | (#46345331)

"Well, if the talent isn't worth the money in terms of bang for buck for the company, then I guess that's that, employer doesn't get a new employee and the employee doesn't get the job. Its unfortunate for both sides at that point"

Given that you said yourself that the employees are nearly universally employed already (for a salary they apparently accepted), I would say that from the side of the employee this is not an unfortunate situation at all.

Re:Hard to find good developers in Denver (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345349)

Or...your company could look for inexperienced developers and give them--gasp--on the job training.

Sound like a supply and demand issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345515)

The issue is that at what you're supplying for a paycheck there is no demand. You're in a large metro area, competition for talent is going to be greater. If the talent isn't worth the money, then your product isn't worth buying and I'd suggest you design a different product or get into a different business.

Hmm...let's look at this a minute...the answer mig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345101)

"...consistently finds that the U.S. produces many more STEM graduates than the workforce can absorb."

"...employers say managers are struggling to find qualified workers in STEM fields."

does someone think that just because there's a lot of idiots running around with sheepskins that they're actually qualified to do anything more than fetch coffee?

Whenever I hear, "Managers ..." (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345117)

I think of Dilbert comics. Managers are incredibly stupid. They want 23 year old super graduates with 2 masters and 10 years experience in the job, also 3 years experience with technologies that usually exist for like 6 months, whom they can pay below minimum wage. Since they don't get that we keep hearing the usual bullshit of shortages. With realistic requirements and decent pay you can fill any position.

Re:Whenever I hear, "Managers ..." (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46345635)

Well, I was thinking that. Until I had to fill some manager shoes. And trust me, you get a LOT of crap from the other end of the chute, too.

I was posting reasonable, sensible expectations for applicants. Some university would be nice, halfway decent education, a few years of C++, some experience with security development, a hint of ASM as a bonus (so you'd know just WHY it's not so smart to take unsafe input from stack as gospel).

I literally received HUNDREDS of applications that had little if anything to do with the specs provided. Pretty much anyone who needed a job and has heard of the existence of some programming language that existed in some obscure universe even Cthulhu dares not venture in sent his resume. It's a bit like spam, since sending it doesn't cost anything anymore, people simply fire out a few hundred of them to everyone who dares to offer something that seems to fit remotely into their field of knowledge.

So I guess it's no wonder that companies start asking for impossible requirements. Simply because anyone who can remotely come close to maybe fulfilling them WILL send an application.

In other words: If it sounds like something you think you could do, send your resume, to hell with the requirements!

the real shortage (3, Insightful)

kcmastrpc (2818817) | about 9 months ago | (#46345119)

are the budgets. if x company wants to hire qualified developers, they could - at a premium. instead, they bargain shop in an effort to save 20-30k a year per developer, and as a result bring on board sub-par developers that wreck their product and leave them in worse condition had they just spent the money to begin with.

the cycle is somewhat humorous to me, and I laugh at every job posting I see looking for `rockstars` at 55-65k a year when other companies in the area are offering up 65-85k for the same job. (caveat, I don't work in the valley or in NY - so wages aren't on par with those markets)

I get it (1)

budcub (92165) | about 9 months ago | (#46345181)

They (employers) want people with a STEM degree and paid experience to go along with it, but they only want to pay those people wages commensurate with someone who's fresh out of college.

Qualified people wont's work for low wages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345193)

The shortage: A shortage of qualified STEM workers who will work for peanuts.

Re:Qualified people wont's work for low wages (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46345551)

If you pay peanuts, expect to get monkeys.

Fake job bro (5, Informative)

fastgriz (1052034) | about 9 months ago | (#46345223)

I work in a small town with a very small number of high tech employers. The place across town posted a job with extremely specific job requirements that happened to align perfectly with my resume... I applied for the job and immediately received a back channel request to withdraw my application because the job opening was posted for a temporary foreign worker they had who had to be given a permanent position or go home... Apparently they were required to post the job and could only hire her if there were no qualified applicants who were US citizens... It's a small town, I didn't want to burn bridges, and already had a good job so I withdrew but I wonder how often this happens where the applicant for the fake job does not get a heads up and has his time wasted interviewing for a fake job opening...

And you withdrew? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345613)

You should have reported it. They are committing fraud.

shortage of good managers (2)

globaljustin (574257) | about 9 months ago | (#46345233)

I have noted a significant shortage in management who understand the work they oversee.

But be that as it may, even with good management at the mid level, accountants & asshole finance guys run the show and will do anything to their staff to save money on next quarter's balance sheet.

American business has bought into the hype game 100%....until we take a flamethrower to all that bullshit we will see problems like this....this is a **symptom** of a problem

What contradiction? (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 9 months ago | (#46345239)

The summary frames this as a false conundrum.

...consistently finds that the U.S. produces many more STEM graduates than the workforce can absorb. Meanwhile, employers say managers are struggling to find qualified workers in STEM fields. What explains these apparently contradictory trends?

There is no contradiction between those two statements. Perhaps reading comprehension is what we are lacking. Let's remove the politics by replacing STEM graduates with oranges and see what happens:

1. The US produces more oranges than the citizens can eat.
2. Citizens are struggling to find quality oranges.
Conclusion: We produce lots of poor quality oranges.

Now, this is not to say that we don't really need more good quality oranges. But if you forcibly increase production, you will probably have a greater percentage of poor quality product than you had before.

Caveat: I am judging from the summary here so perhaps there is some statistic that says these graduates are indeed quality.

Re:What contradiction? (2)

gantry (180560) | about 9 months ago | (#46345559)

Exactly right. Also, from the purchaser's viewpoint, he wants good quality oranges but wants to pay the poor-quality price.

There are purchasers all over the country who could make best-selling orange juice, if only they could buy good quality fruit at trash prices. The flaw is in their own business model, not in the way that oranges are produced.

The Problem is Hitting the Ground Running (4, Insightful)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about 9 months ago | (#46345255)

What they teach in a Computer Science degree are some of the more common or interesting algorithms, algorithm analysis and design, some operating system theory, say how to write a mouse driver as did my friend at UC Santa Cruz.

So you get out on the workforce looking for your first job, and you see that the craigslist "sof / qa / dba" section wants someone who knows PHP, Javascript and MySQL.

So you buy some books and learn those, maybe you get the job, but eventually you go looking for another job. They want C# .Net, Microsoft Internet Information Server and SQL Server.

I now have a vast number of technical books, and a hard time getting a job because I've never written an Android App.

How about on-the-job training? There were at least at one time some companies that did it. That's how I learned Java, Python, Smalltalk, Postscript and UNIX Sysadmin. But on the job training is very uncommon these days, because employers want "someone who can hit the ground running".

If you paid your new hire to spend his or her first week reading an O'Reilly book, then the next month paired up with a more experienced coder, you'd find that there is no shortage of workers, rather there is a surplus.

Re:The Problem is Hitting the Ground Running (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | about 9 months ago | (#46345411)

This is exactly right.

Re:The Problem is Hitting the Ground Running (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345425)

Maybe the problem is in seeing a good software engineer when you have one in front of you.
A rockstar type will get up and running in whatever technology pretty fast.
Yet, a rockstar will write on his resume "design of rocket embedded software", "transaction system for mid-siszed banking operation" and not PHP or Javascript or whatever.
That's because that person wants to build something by itself, not to implement a specification that the accountants will deem unnecessary next month.
Go figure!

Re:The Problem is Hitting the Ground Running (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46345529)

You can't teach "programming" in a university. At least not programming with the current flavor of the month tool. Well, you can, but rest assured I'd stay away from such a "degree" as far as I possibly can.

Remember how, say, 5 or 10 years ago everything was Ruby and Ruby on Rails? ASP and COM? Today, forget it. Now it's all Android and iPad. And in 5 years that's dead as well.

You can't teach the field of the year tool at a school that's supposed to give you an education for life. Another reason why most people go into BA rather than engineering, you don't really need to learn a new set of business rules every other year, you can sell the same bull for seemingly ever.

Not all STEM fields are equal (5, Insightful)

philip.levis (1997004) | about 9 months ago | (#46345261)

STEM covers a wide range of fields; while there is a shortage of computer scientists and engineers (mostly due to the fact that many non-CS engineers go into software), there is an oversupply of biologists and other sciences. http://csl.stanford.edu/~pal/e... [stanford.edu]

My anecdotal experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345267)

Without reading the article, my experience as an engineer is the whole thing is made up. Anecdotally, a significant percentage of my engineering school classmates did not go into engineering. This is also generally true of my wife's engineering school classmates, though she went to school in China and I was educated in the US. I did not even end up in the field I studied in school because that industry has been going through a multi-decade contraction and there were not many jobs when I needed one.

Many try engineering for a while and learn that what they thought engineering was all about is not true at all. There are lots of engineers out there who do more managing and coordinating than anything to do with coming up with the Next Great Thing. Getting the corporate purse strings opened to have those who can work on the Next Great Thing is frequently not an easy thing to do. I have been in more than one company who had lots of engineers but largely sat on their laurels and defied attempts within to be more innovative and take risk in developing product for markets with no clear buyer. Did those companies NEED engineers for the tasks they were using them for?

Class Wars (4, Insightful)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 9 months ago | (#46345277)

Good employees are almost always available if an employer is really willing to pay. Whether it is an IT professional or a feild worker picking oranges it distills down to the same issue. If farmers paid enough there would be American laborers who would instantly leap to picking oranges. And if technology oriented companies are really willing to pay then the best workers will stand in line to get hired. Two issues exist. The first is a class warfare type of situation where the bosses feel that they are superior and employees are just convenient dirt to be misued at will. Only a shallow pretence of caring about employees is made. The second issue is that many businesses have no reason to exist and actually simply can not pay good wages for quality workers. In my area restaurants are a huge example. We have far too many restaurants that stand almost elbow to elbow, Most go broke or survive on a thread. They get by on the hope that one day they will become popular and capture the market. Employees is such businesses only do well by accident and in fact the owners may become enraged to find that a worler does well while they dread their businesses survival odds. Politics enters in when borders are allowed to be easy to cross or work permits for foreigners are common. And the tax payer is the chump who pays for it all. Picture an American who can not survive on wages picking fruit being replaced by an illegal immigrant. The American ends up on unemployment, or disability or welfare. the farmer hires the illegal worker for one third the pay and the tax payer pays for the American worker who is idled.

Try answering this simple interview question (1)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about 9 months ago | (#46345327)

I've been asked this same question in interviews twice:

write a C function to reverse a C-string in place.

I expect most slashbots can supply a correct answer, but a good friend of mine who has many years of experience as a visual basic coder, and who does know some basic C, is unable to answer the question.

When I supplied my answer, the company owner said "I see you have an eye for efficiency". I found that puzzling. Perhaps that's why I got the job.

I've interviewed with google a few times. I won't tell you any of their interview questions, that would be rude, but I will tell you that their HR recruiters - all in-house, not third-party headhunters - all screen new candidates by asking the very same, very basic three computer science questions. Anyone who has done one single algorithms class, and worked a year at a good coding job should be able to answer all three questions, but I expect that many prospective candidates cannot.

Re:Try answering this simple interview question (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46345479)

Very true indeed.

But what I noticed is that degrees mean jack when it comes to basic things like this. I've had people with degrees in CS and whatnot who were great in theory. But when it came to coating that theory in code, most suddenly drew a blank.

Likewise, when I was working at a company that deals with malware analysis, we were looking for programmers with at least a bit of an ASM background. What we got were mostly people with a lot of experience in, say, VB and JS. Eventually I designed a simple question with a bit of ASM code, whoever could tell me what this does and what they'd expect from it, where it could probably be in a code and what to watch out in debugging can apply. The rest need not.

The snippet was simply
pop eax
inc eax
push eax
ret

Believe it or not, the applications dropped sharply to the point where we could invite every single person who solved it correctly without overtaxing ourselves...

scope problem (1)

lq_x_pl (822011) | about 9 months ago | (#46345337)

We need to more carefully scope how we define "STEM".
Some studies lump social sciences under STEM, where others do not.
I would not be surprised if companies were having a difficult time finding enough qualified engineers and programmers - but I would have a difficult time believing companies were having a difficult time finding qualified Sociology, Psychology, or Biology majors. The Biological Sciences and Psychology buildings at my school were teeming with students, while the CompSci and Engineering buildings were generally much less populated.

They're not out there, or you can't FIND them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345353)

I think the problem is that companies cannot FIND who they're looking for. It does not follow that those employees are not OUT THERE, it simply means, quite literally, that companies cannot find or attract them, or pay them what they're worth.
I don't see the shortage - I see the lack of ability to find, attract, and appropriately compensate those people.

Theory (1)

slapout (93640) | about 9 months ago | (#46345361)

"the U.S. produces many more STEM graduates than the workforce can absorb. Meanwhile, employers say managers are struggling to find qualified workers in STEM fields"

Perhaps the graduates are unable to do the work.

Follow the money (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 9 months ago | (#46345365)

The reason is simply that it pays better to move into BA. Seriously, take a look at your earning opportunities with a STEM degree, then compare to what a BA can make. And finally compare the workload.

Even I had to move away from my beloved engineering and into management because it was just effin' impossible to get ahead otherwise. I now make a lot more money with a lot less work on my shoulders. If I had a BA degree instead of a STEM one, maybe I would've gotten here 10 years ago.

Recession attitude running strong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345367)

I am a highly qualified software engineer and I have had a helluva time finding a job. It's not for lack of qualifications. It's for lack of open minded, dynamic employers. The interview process of today for developers is filled with so many unreasonable hoops, stress and competition. Based on experience I see it this way:

Employers know there is a glut of developers right now. They are determined to capitalize on this by demanding that in their search the employee meets EVERY qualification to the letter AND they offer as little pay for it as they can. When they can't meet that standard, they complain that there "aren't enough qualified workers".

It's the biggest pile of bull.

Keep it up, Employers. You will find more and more developers leaving the field for other careers that aren't filled with so much red tape for so little reward. THEN, they will have a valid complaint about STEM workers...

Offshore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345403)

I can speak from experience about what is happening to STEM jobs. US companies have too many MBAs running the shop. Today's MBAs have been taught that the easiest way to profitability is to cut as much as they can from their budget which will include wages and R&D (The reason big companies now all go for acquiring smaller companies). They let go of most of the US based employees via attrition or layoffs except for a few. They then hire an offshore company to replace the US employees since they have far cheaper salaries but they also lack the skills of their US counterparts. The US based employees are then put in charge of the offshore employees and wind up teaching them the skills they should have had already or the US employee just does the job for them. The MBA looks like a genius since they are now saving money without those "expensive" US STEM folks. The US employees wind up getting burnt out and then just quit.

Let's explain this carefully once and for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46345415)

Good managers no longer exist. There is a generational shift. The people managing companies right now have only one trick:

1) outsource functions
2) fire people who did functions
3) get bigger bonuses from saving the company money
4) use their "success" to get a better job

There is no shortage. There are only short-term managers running companies into the ground.

The concept of being an outsourcing company is like being an MLM founder - you get to skim money off the top of what your clients pay. You lowball clients with offers to do the same work for less than employees could, skim what you want off the top, and pay your workers whatever is left. A great scam if you're the one who runs it.

But since managers are trained to outsource, and really don't know anything else to do, there aren't many real full-time, permanent jobs left.

So what do you do if you've invested your prime years training to be a software developer? Work for the outsourcers? Train for a different career and compete with people who have more experience? Tough decision. I think pharmacists are in the same boat. Train for years, and now all the pharmacies are small 24-hour pharmacies in grocery stores and other chains that need pharmacists to work part-time shifts.

Sure, there's a "shortage" of people who think working for an outsourcer is a good idea. Working yourself to death to make other people rich is always a bad deal.

And so it goes!

Specificity... (2)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 9 months ago | (#46345419)

I tend to believe that the problem is that using "STEM" as a definition is far too broad to have meaningful discussion. Many of the out of work STEM people are victims of changing technology or simply dumb luck in choosing a field that went dry when new tech appeared, studying the wrong tools or languages or techniques and not adapting to a market shift. The schools are partially to blame for sometimes teaching out of date material, also to blame would be the inevitable market overshoot of a "boom" field attracting more workers than it can absorb resulting in a glut of talent in that field for some period of time.

Mass producing lower quality (2)

MikeRT (947531) | about 9 months ago | (#46345499)

If 500 seniors graduate in CS from a typical state university system in a year, but only 100 can actually function as an intern or junior developer upon graduation then you have 400 people who should probably have never made it past year two of their program. In my alma mater's case, we were weighted heavily toward testing because the alternative was that only about 30% of our CS students would graduate. Our valedictorian, an excellent test taker, couldn't even teach herself Python when she had a whole week or two to learn it and write up a presentation on it. Yet with a 2.5 GPA I managed to do Smalltalk. Go figure...

A similar thing is happening with managers. A lot of the PMPs I've worked with are no better or in fact worse than the non-PMP managers I've dealt with.

A programmer is born on the crib not on college (3, Interesting)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about 9 months ago | (#46345503)

Without the right amount of culture (a computer and incentive to try and create stuff with it) while still in infancy you most likely won't have a person that:
A: Wants to program for a living.
B: Is good at it.

The same is true for many other areas, electrical engineers that dismantle radios as kids for example.

So it is not enough to try to get high school kids into STEM bachelors, you need to have the right culture while growing up to make a good professional. That is one (of many) reasons why woman are underrepresented in STEM fields, they are not encouraged at a young age to do this type of activity.

Regional Crisis (3, Insightful)

EXTomar (78739) | about 9 months ago | (#46345521)

There is not a national STEM problem but there are places with very local and very acute problems with finding enough people for the work available. For multiple reasons and factors most of those STEM style jobs left for elsewhere but the need for scientists and engineers didn't from places like Idaho and Tennessee.

I fully expect you can't walk through a crowed mall in Seattle or San Fransisco without bumping into someone who is STEM educated. I also fully expect that there are people who would do anything for another lab scientist or engineer on staff in a company located in Omaha, Nebraska.

What does the economist say? (5, Informative)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 9 months ago | (#46345535)

The economist says there's never a shortage, just a shortage at a given price. E.g., Robert R. Prechter, Jr: "In a free market, shortages are impossible; there is only a price. Rubies and Picassos are scarce, but there's never a shortage of them. You can buy all you want any day of the week. Just pay the price." [mises.org] You can have all you want if you're willing to pay more.

Not this shit again..... (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 9 months ago | (#46345601)

No. There's no "shortage." There's a shortage of STEM workers who will work for slave wages like all the MBA's and foreign CEOs would like.

Engineers. We're so.... uppity.

S != T != E != M (5, Insightful)

itamblyn (867415) | about 9 months ago | (#46345633)

A large part of the problem stems (heh :) from the fact that the disciplines are not interchangeable. Policy makers typically do not have backgrounds in _any_ of the fields, so they see little distinction between a computer science student, software engineer, math, physics, etc. While we can all agree that those disciplines are technical in nature, the fact is you do not learn the same set of skills. When employers say then need more STEM grads, they aren't looking for a generic chemistry or biology student. They want a C++ coder, or they want someone that can build an antenna, or someone that can operate a mass spec. The learning outcomes from different STEM degrees are vastly different. Notwithstanding issues related to wages, H1-B etc, the acronym itself is a big part of the problem.
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